LIV players seek validation of ratings, comparing themselves to the Big Ten

LIV players seek validation of ratings, comparing themselves to the Big Ten

An absolute powerhouse, several names you’d recognize from their past successes and some unknown ones are enjoying the fruits of a huge financial windfall and attracting a lot of new recruits these days. But this isn’t a story about the Big Ten, this is about LIV Golf.

As it comes off its latest tournament, won by the outright powerhouse Cam Smith, LIV Golf continues to make progress toward its goal of recognition by the Official World Golf Rankings. Earning that recognition would give LIV players a more direct route to the majors, making LIV a much more attractive alternative to the PGA Tour.

The 48 players who competed in last week’s Chicago-area LIV event signed a letter to Peter Dawson, President of the OWGR, seeking to validate LIV and award ranking points to the tour that is no longer an upstart. Given the significant number of big winners now playing at LIV, players argued that a world ranking without LIV is not a complete picture of the state of golf today.

“An OWGR without LIV would be incomplete and inaccurate,” they wrote, “the equivalent of leaving the Big 10 or the SEC out of the US college football rankings, or leaving Belgium, Argentina and England out of the FIFA rankings”.

LIV Golf events are 54-hole, no-cut, quick-start tournaments in which each player earns a paycheck each week. That format deviates sharply from the 72-hole Tour events with cuts to all 36 holes and no guarantee of a paycheck, and questions about the feasibility and fairness of the format to test players’ mettle, along with the Long-standing animosity between the Tour and LIV has kept LIV’s ratings status in limbo.

The letter, signed by such notables as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and others, sidesteps the issue of LIV tournament competition to focus on the quality of the players involved.

“Some 23 tours are embedded in the OWGR universe, and LIV has earned its place among them,” the players wrote. “Four LIV golfers have held the number one position in the OWGR, and one is currently number two. The LIV roster includes 21 of the last 51 winners from all four Majors. The level of competition in the average LIV event is at least equal to that at the average PGA Tour event. We know that because we’ve played in both.”

“Fans deserve ratings that are inclusive and accurate,” the letter concludes. “Not including 48 of the best golfers in the world would mean fans are being denied what they deserve.” And, one might add, that players are being denied what they want. There is no timeline yet for the OWGR’s decision.

The 2022-23 PGA Tour season is underway. LIV’s 2022 season has three events remaining, all in October, to be played in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Bangkok and Miami.

Dustin Johnson and Cam Smith seek validation for LIV. (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Contact Jay Busbee at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.

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